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5 Ways To Handle Bad Reviews

Getting a bad review, and I mean a really bad review that is angry, vicious and unjustified (as if you killed their dog!) is an awful feeling.

And believe me, whether you’re Stephen King, J.K.Rowling, or Dean Koontz, all authors will get them.

But relax, breathe, and read these 5 ways to handle bad reviews.

  1. Remind yourself that a combination of good and bad reviews adds genuineness to the book. If your book has nothing but glowing 5-star reviews, readers will assume they are fake. So some bad reviews are beneficial to the book and make the 5-star reviews you do have all the more real.
  2. It is only a review. It is not the end of the world. So calm down.
  3. Is it helpful criticism or just plain nastiness? No book, in my opinion, should ever warrant a 1-star. So chances are, if you receive a 1-star, it is not helpful at all, so don’t even bother reading it. Usually, good reviews are 4/5, and helpful criticisms are 2/3. I learned early on, to not even read 1-star reviews. Take any advice helpful readers are willing to offer. But ignore the haters. That being said, is there a trend? Do most readers notice a lot of typos? (Did you use an editor?) Do readers think the book is too long? Too short? Characters aren’t appealing, or their actions are unjustified? These issues should have been taken care of by sending your book to beta-readers before its release, but these things still happen post-publication.
  4. We all need to feel good about ourselves. So, read the good reviews for affirmation and to remind you why you became a writer in the first place. Don’t let the haters stop you from doing what you love and deprive the readers who love your work!
  5. Think of the end game. When you hit over 100 reviews. Who cares? Stats show that once your book has over 100 reviews, the overall rating loses its power over influencing a purchase unless the overall rating is a 1-star, which is rare. Just remind yourself that the bad review is just one person in a world of billions.

I hope this helps, as new authors/writers can really be affected by these malicious 1-star reviews written by haters. But you have to build a thick skin. You have to be strong. Think of how actors feel when their performance in a movie receives horrible reviews that is all over the media (papers, magazines, TV and internet!). So count yourself lucky that you only have to handle a couple of bad reviews on a couple of websites, dependent on where your book is being sold.

Wesley Thomas is a bestselling horror author, owner of Wesley’s Author Promo Service, head of marketing for a UK firm, and works as a freelance writer for several websites. He loves reading, painting, fitness, movies, traveling, good food, and spending time with his family & friends. Authors, sign up for his monthly writing and marketing tips here.


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